Community Inspiration Winner
Red River Unitarian Universalist Church
Texoma Earth Day Festival
Red River Unitarian Universalist Church (RRUU) Green Team hosts an annual educational environmental festival called the Texoma Earth Day Festival that is helping to inspire the surrounding community on the border of Texas and Oklahoma to save energy and live more sustainably. In an area where oil drills are a much more common site than Earth Day festivals, Red River UU has grown this festival four fold in as many years. More than half of the volunteers are from the congregation, and many area businesses and organizations participate.
The festival offers a keynote address, workshops and demonstrations, children’s activities, art shows, entertainment, recycling, vendors and displays. The festival draws attendees from north Texas and southern Oklahoma. Attendees learn about products and methods for reducing their environmental impact. They are also given the opportunity to recycle through a paper shredding event, electronic waste recycling event, and collection of Styrofoam, hard plastics, ink and toner cartridges, ball caps, eye glasses, and more.
Red River UU is seen as a resource for individuals and businesses that need access to recycling information. Keeping this information current is a constant challenge. They work with the Texoma Council of Governments to achieve this task.
The RRUU Green Team is a small interest group within a small congregation. They admit that they could not run this scale of event without help. More than a dozen organizations and businesses work with the RRUU Green Team to put on the festival. Several organizations plan around the event: the opening of the Downtown Farmers Market in Denison, Green Serve community service event at Austin College, and the Friends of the Sherman Public Library used book sale are all scheduled to coordinate with the Earth Day Festival.
The RRUU Green Team is planning the 6th annual Earth Day Festival in April, 2014. The festival has been growing steadily every year, from 1200 attendees in 2009 to more than 5000 in 2013. More than half of the congregation volunteers the day of the festival and members get the word out by distributing posters and flyers in the month leading up to the festival.
Red River Unitarian Universalists Church participated in IPL’s Preach-In on Climate Change in 2014 and also showed the film Chasing Ice to its community. It is an island of environmentally concerned individuals in a region not friendly to these ideas. The Texoma Earth Day Festival is a creative approach to educate and inspire people to develop a concern for environmental issues, challenges and solutions.
Visit the Texoma Earth Day website.